WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: The new Secretary of State Antony Blinken has declared that the US is prepared to prosecute Omar Shaikh in the US for allegedly kidnapping and killing Daniel Pearl.
In a strong worded statement, Secretary Blinken termed the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to release Omar Shaikh as “an affront to terrorism victims everywhere, including Pakistan.”
“The United States is deeply concerned by the Pakistani Supreme Court’s decision to acquit those involved in Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and murder and any proposed action to release them. Ahmad Omar Saeed Shaikh was indicted in the United States in 2002 for hostage-taking and conspiracy to commit hostage-taking, resulting in the murder of Pearl, the South Asia Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal, as well as the 1994 kidnapping of another United States citizen in India,” the statement said.
Recognising Pakistan’s past actions to hold Omar Shaikh accountable and noting that he remains detained, the State Department expects the Pakistani government to expeditiously review its legal options to ensure justice is served.
The secretary of state also noted the US Attorney General’s statement that he intends to seek review and recall of the (Pakistan Supreme Court) decision.
“We are also prepared to prosecute Shaikh in the United States for his horrific crimes against an American citizen. We are committed to securing justice for Daniel Pearl’s family and holding terrorists accountable,” the statement concluded.
The Sindh government Friday filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against its order releasing Ahmed Omar Saeed Shaikh. A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, had acquitted Ahmed Omar Saeed Shaikh in a short order by a two-to-one majority verdict, by extending him the benefit of doubt.
The court had ordered that Ahmed Omar Shaikh and other three accused — Fahad Naseem Ahmed, Syed Salman Saqib and Shaikh Muhammad Adil — be set free forthwith, if not required in any other case.
The Sindh government through its prosecutor general filed a review a petition in the apex court against its order releasing all the accused in Daniel Pearl murder case.
“Being aggrieved of and dissatisfied with the judgement of the full bench of this court comprising Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Yahya Afridi (the latter partly dissenting) in Criminal Appeal No 601 of 2020 dated 28.01.21, the petitioner files the instant criminal review petition for leave to appeal on questions of law, facts and ground,” the Sindh government submitted in the review petition.
“Whether the impugned judgment is liable to be reviewed being contrary to law and facts, appeared on the face of the record,” the provincial government questioned.
Meanwhile, sources told The News that the prosecutor general has sought one-week time to submit more documents with the petition. Similarly, an official, when contacted, revealed that hopefully additional documents would be filed in the review petition within two to three days.
The office of Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Javed had issued a statement that the federal government was in contact and fully engaged with the government of Sindh in respect to the order passed by the Supreme Court in Daniel Pearl murder case.
A spokesperson for the Attorney General had confirmed filing of a review petition. “The federal government is extending full support to the provincial government in this matter and all legal steps are being taken in this regard,” the spokesman had said.
Media reports said the Attorney General will represent the Centre in the case.